Saturday marks Chas “The Scrapper” Skelly’s return to the octagon. Following a decision loss in his UFC debut against fellow top prospect Mirsad Bektic, Skelly looks to earn his first UFC victory. At that fight both Skelly and Bektic made their debut, while boasting undefeated records. Those who purchased UFC Fight Pass got their money’s worth as Skelly and Bektic went back and forth. In the first round, the fight was even on the feet until Bektic landed a takedown on Skelly and followed it up with good ground-and-pound to close out the round. In the 2nd round, once again they traded blows, until Skelly had Bektic against the cage and landed two vicious knees to the head of Bektic. As the knees were delivered Bektic, was “playing the game” (putting his hand on and off the mat to prevent knees to the head) and the ref stopped the fight. At first everyone thought the fight was over and Skelly had been awarded a TKO victory. But after a quick deliberation, the ref ruled the blows illegal and docked Skelly a point, ultimately leading to his demise. The Scrapper put on a submission barrage late in the 3rd round almost completing a nasty kimura, a rear naked choke, and a heel-hook shortly after. Bektic ended up winning the fight by a majority decision.
The result obviously wasn’t what Skelly wanted, but that doesn’t change his positive outlook. “It was tough,” Skelly told MMAjunkie.com, of the loss. “It is what it is. You just have to take it in a positive aspect. I feel like it’s a fight I definitely should have won. It’s an opponent I definitely should have beat. It’s tough to lose in that way.
“It was tough to lose to somebody I thought I was better than, and it was definitely tough to lose when I thought I had the fight won. I thought I was going to knock him out in the second, so that made it that much worse. But you just have to take the positive things from it. It was my first loss, but you’ve got to grow from it, and that’s what I did.”
“I should have taken him down, but I wanted to get the knockout. I felt like I was the better striker and that I was going to get the knockout in the fight. I did good things in the fight, but there’s a lot of things I did that I wouldn’t normally do. But I can fix those things in training.”
Skelly gets his chance for redemption tomorrow night at “UFC Fight 49: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos.” He takes on Tom Niinimaki who is coming his first loss in his last 13 fights. Skelly has strategically planned for this fight with his camp at Team Takedown.
“I definitely like to watch film,” Skelly said. “I’ve studied his fights, and I’ve watched what he did, but also as opposed to concentrating on what he does and what he doesn’t do, I think I’m just going to concentrate on what I’m going to do him, like imposing my will and really forcing the action on him.
“This guy, he likes to take people down. He doesn’t do much. He strikes some. He looks for takedowns pretty quickly. He looks for a lot of takedowns, and on top, he doesn’t really throw any kind of ground-and-pound. He really just looks for positions and holds and maybe looks for some submissions in there, but I don’t want that type of fight. I’m going to have to go out there and implement my gameplan and impose my will.”
Perhaps the most important factor in this fight is the fact that Skelly has been in the Octagon before. The first-fight nerves are out of the way and he can focus on the fight and not worry about just taking in the experience.
“I had some jitters last time, obviously,” Skelly said. “But to be honest, it’s a fight. It’s a sport, and I’m going out there to win, either way. I just look at it a competition. My mindset hasn’t changed. I feel like I’m better than this guy. I felt like I was better than the last guy, but I just need to go out there and perform.”
Look for Chas Skelly to go for a finish as he has done in 8 of his 11 victories. Whether the fight stays standing or goes to the ground he is always one move away from stopping the fight. Catch this fight tomorrow night live from Tulsa, Oklahoma on the first fight of the main card on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. EST/ 7p.m. PST!